One Black man has embraced his “new whiteness” in an effort to get his support for Bernie Sanders noticed.
Leslie Lee III, an American writer and educator living in Japan, started the hashtag #berniemademewhite, following the presidential hopeful’s landslide victories in the Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington state primaries on Saturday.
“Ever since I voted for Bernie, I’ve been bingewatching Friends. #BernieMadeMeWhite,” Lee, known on Twitter as @tokyovampires, wrote Sunday.
Although all three states are home to some of the most diverse populations in the country, after the Sanders win they were deemed largely white by major media outlets like CNN.
“The common narrative in this election that Bernie has a ‘minority problem’ or that all his supporters are ‘bros’ is pervasive, and insulting to the POCs [People of Color] and women who support [him],” Lee explained.
While his sentiments began long before the outcome of recent primaries, “it hit a peak … when Hawaii, the least white state in the nation, retroactively became white or ‘not diverse’ due to the fact that Bernie won it.”
His answer was to start #BernieMadeMeWhite, “since my real existence as a Black person who supports Bernie is ignored … might as well embrace my new whiteness.”
Lee is unapologetically a Sanders supporter despite some trying to compare the Vermont Senator’s campaign to Trump’s.
“In reality, Sanders is the only candidate still in the race without a decades-long history of racism,” he said. “Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton are racists, period. Bernie Sanders is not.”
The hashtag is trending on Twitter with people posting photos and writing messages in support of Lee.
“When I went to bed, I knew it would be trending in the morning because so many people have experienced this,” he tweeted. “We’re sick of it.”
(Photo: Leslie Lee III via Instagram)